Join Rich Lackowski for an in-depth discussion in this video Setting up your drums, part of Drum Set Instruction: On The Beaten Path.
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- The first drum that we're going to put on the drum rug is the biggest one. It's called the bass drum. Bass drums come in various different sizes. They're typically 22 inches in diameter, but they go all the way up to 26, and they go as small as 18. And the depth goes between anywhere from 14 inches to 2o inches. This is an 18 by 22, and this is the resonant head.
So this is not the head that you hit. Some resonant heads have a hole in it, some don't. If yours doesn't have a hole in it, don't worry about it, it's not a problem. So you want to put the bass drum on it's side so the resonant head is facing out. Now these, these are bass drum spurs. You want to loosen these up, and put them facing forward. The bass drum spurs are usually closer to one side of the drum than the other side.
You want to make sure you put it away from you, facing out. Okay, let's get the second spur opened up. So now, put that at the edge of the drum carpet, and you want it to be pretty flat on the floor, just raise these up just enough so you can slip a finger underneath the bass drum hoop. And there you go, that is the bass drum.
Now, this is the bass drum pedal. The pedal has a mechanism, so there's a foot board that's attached to a chain, there's a spring, and all this works so when you press down on it, it throws this bass drum beater into the batter head of the bass drum. So there's a little clamp here. You're going to want to put that, onto the bass drum hoop, and just secure it. You don't have to over-tighten this, but make sure it's nice and snug.
So now the bass drum pedal, is attached to the bass drum. The next thing that I want to do is grab the drum throne. The drum throne, is just a fancy word for the drummer's seat. Make sure you get a drum throne, don't sit on your mom's kitchen chair, or a bar stool or anything like that. A good drum throne is really going to help you out, and it's nice and sturdy, it's just a good place, a good piece of gear that you need to have.
Now you want to position the drum throne, so you're right foot is straight in line with the bass drum, and the bass drum pedal. When you're foot's on top of the base drum pedal, you want your leg to be completely straight and in line. If you sit too close, your leg's going to be going straight down, it's not going to be comfortable, and if you're sitting too far, your foot's going to be extended way too far out. So you want this angle of this leg to be just a little bit, a little bit more open than a 90 degree angle.
And you want the height of the drum throne so that your leg is a little bit higher than parallel with the floor. So that's kind of what you're going for, for good positioning of the bass drum relative to the throne. This is the snare drum stand. The basket should be opened up, by turning this little plastic knob, and that goes, right in front of you, sort of between your legs.
Just get it kind of close for now, and we'll grab the snare drum. They call this the snare drum because it has snares on the resonant head, on the bottom head. This is the side that you don't hit. And it gives it the kind of sound that is famous on a snare drum. And you just put that into the snare drum basket. Now see how it's very loose? That's a little bit too loose, so I'm going to tighten it up. But you don't want to tighten it so much that you're choking the drum.
You really just want it to sit in the basket, just like that. Just so it's nice and free, but it's not clamped down like a vice. And we'll just center that right in between your legs. Now the next drum you want to grab is the floor tom. They call this a floor tom because it has legs, and it's suspended.
It actually rests on the floor on the floor tom legs. So you want to position this floor tom so it's symmetrically set up opposite of the snare drum. These two drums, the snare drum and the floor tom should be about the same height, and I like to play them almost completely flat to the floor.
Some people like to angle them a little bit in towards you. Just get it close for now, you can fine tune all this stuff differently later. The reason that all this gear is adjustable is because it can be set up to fit different drummer's bodies, and preferences for playing. The next thing we're going to do, is grab the tom mount. This funny looking thing just goes right here, in the bass drum and it's used to hold up the tom toms.
So this is a tom tom. Also called a rack tom. And this is the tom mount. You want to slide the tom mount onto the L arm, just like that. Then we'll grab the other tom, and we will put it on this side.
Now the rack toms are set up so the smallest one is on your left, the bigger one is on your right, and then your floor tom is the biggest of the tom toms and that's sitting over here, on the right side of the drum kit. You want to have the tom toms angled just a little bit towards you and make sure that they don't touch and rub against the bass drum here. That'll just mess up the finish, and it won't sound very good. So, just want to mount them so they're floating right above the bass drum, and easily in reach.
Everything is set up pretty symmetrical. The snare drum, your high tom, your low tom, and your floor tom. And that's the basic set up of the drums.
By the time you complete this course, you'll understand all the essentials of being a good drummer: from reading and writing music to playing with healthy technique to keep you drumming for a lifetime—along with a well-rounded vocabulary of over 140 famous beats and fills that you can use to create your own music and start playing in bands.
- Setting up your drums
- Basic hand and foot technique
- Reading music
- Playing basic beat and fills in a variety of styles
- Playing in 3/4, 5/4, and 7/8 time and more